About Fernanda Santos

Image Credits: Nick Oza

I have reported in three languages, in Latin America and across the United States, on pretty much every kind of subject out there – politics, policy, criminal justice, natural and man-made disasters, immigration, public education, race relations, real estate, the U.S.-Mexico border, the economy. I got my start in journalism in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, my home country, where I bore witness to violence, inequality and immeasurable hope. In those scenes, I found my passion for telling true stories.

I climbed the journalism ladder step by step, using my multicultural heritage — I’m of Brazilian Indian, Portuguese and African descent; my multilingual skills — I speak Portuguese, English, Spanish and French; my uncanny eye for details that matter; and my burning curiosity for everyday-life stories to distinguish myself.

At The Eagle-Tribune of Lawrence, Mass., the first majority minority city in New England, I was a lead writer in a 10-part series about the contentious relationship between Anglos and Hispanics, winner of a Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service by the Society of Professional Journalists. I was a fellow at the International Reporting Project at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C., and traveled to Colombia to explore the reasons behind a steep decline in the rate of violent crimes in Bogotá.

I have accumulated a vast repertoire since joining The New York Times in 2005, including stories about a little girl abandoned on the streets of Queens, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s Spanish tutor, the lives of black students at one of New York City’s most prestigious public high schools, the deaths of migrants in the harsh Arizona desert, the history of soccer’s cry of goooooool and the fire-scarred trails of Central Idaho. My story on the first year of freedom for a young man who had spent half of his life in prison for a rape and murder he did not commit was recognized by the Society of Silurians and the Associated Press Media Editors. My coverage of the Yarnell Hill Fire was the first to bring up issues of fatigue and miscommunication in wildfires. Investigations later revealed that both were significant factors in the firefighters’ deaths.